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ISIL digging hundreds of small pits to store oil in lieu of destroyed refineries

ISIL digging hundreds of small pits to store oil in lieu of destroyed refineries thumbnail
Washington Post

Washington PostSatellite images provided to the Washington Post by Stratfor, a U.S. geospatial research firm, show tiny, makeshift refineries popping up in Mosul oil fields controlled by ISIL.

With its refineries mostly destroyed and its tanker fleet under constant attack, ISIL is increasingly turning to low-tech alternatives for processing oil, a vital source of revenue for the terrorist group, new satellite images reveal.

Aerial photos taken near the northern Iraqi city of Mosul show scores of tiny, makeshift refineries popping up in oil fields controlled by the Islamic State, evidence the jihadists are finding workarounds after losing much of their oil infrastructure to airstrikes.

The micro-refineries — sometimes called “teapots” — consist of little more than a ditch or pit for storing crude and a portable metal furnace used to distill raw petroleum into fuel. Thousands of such systems have long been in operation in ISIL’s Syrian strongholds, but now they’re sprouting up around the more established, though heavily damaged, Iraqi oil fields, said Omar Lamrani, a senior analyst for Stratfor, a private, Texas-based intelligence company.

“In a single oil field there can be hundreds of these makeshift operations,” said Lamrani, citing aerial imagery showing a constellation of tiny furnaces around a Mosul field that was mostly just sand a year ago. “It’s not the ideal way to do it, so their revenue is going down. But it still works.” The images were provided to The Washington Post by Stratfor and AllSource Analysis, a Colorado firm that specializes in geospatial research.

The tiny refineries are partly offsetting huge losses in income resulting from the disruption of traditional oil production in northern Iraqi fields controlled by ISIL since mid-2014. After capturing the facilities, the group’s leaders initially attempted to run them as businesses, retaining enough workers to keep the refineries operating and hauling the finished products by tanker truck to independent dealers in Turkey, Syria and Iraq’s Kurdish provinces, U.S. officials say.

At its peak, ISIL’s oil operations were netting an estimated $50 million a month. But the group’s oil income has plummeted in recent months, through a combination of poor management and a steady drumbeat of airstrikes that have targeted refineries and storage depots as well as tanker convoys.

It’s not the ideal way to do it, so their revenue is going down. But it still works

The proliferation of micro-refineries is the latest sign of strain in the group’s self-declared caliphate, which has lost half its territorial holdings in Iraq since late 2014.

At the same time, the use of low-tech alternatives also reflects a certain resilience by an organization that also depends on self-generated oil to run its military operations and electric generators, Lamrani said. Stratfor estimates that oil contributed about $20 million a month to ISIL’s coffers as recently as March, with much of the petroleum coming from makeshift facilities.

There are many drawbacks to the system. The small furnaces, which heat raw petroleum to a high temperature and then capture and cool the vapors to create gasoline, produce thick clouds of black smoke and leave pools of toxic byproducts on the surface. But because they are small and scattered, the “teapot” refineries are harder to destroy from the air. And any that are destroyed can be easily and cheaply replaced, oil industry experts say.

“This is very inefficient, dirty and creates lots of waste,” said Paul Bommer, a professor of petroleum engineering at the University of Texas at Austin. And yet, he said, “it is a way to make small amounts of product at isolated locations, which I suppose could make the sites harder to find.”

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20 Comments on "ISIL digging hundreds of small pits to store oil in lieu of destroyed refineries"

  1. Plantagenet on Fri, 8th Jul 2016 7:48 pm 

    Supposedly the Obama administration waited for a full year before destroying the original IS refineries because of fear it would cause environmental damage.

    I wonder if the same concern about envionrmental damage is why these new improvised refineries haven’t been bombed yet.

    Cheers!

  2. dissident on Fri, 8th Jul 2016 8:18 pm 

    American revisionists. The only country that was bombing ISIS oil refineries and tanker fleets seriously from late 2015 was Russia. American officials excused the lack of attacks on the Daesh (ISIS) oil infrastructure because it would cause pollution! They also claimed that Daesh oil economy was local even though Daesh does not control any industrialized territory and most of the population is under Damascus, Kurd and non-Daesh rebel control. In fact, Daesh was exporting oil via Turkey and Russia shut most of this activity down.

    Of course images of oil tankers destroyed by Russia were claimed by the US media as the result of US action.

  3. Go Speed Racer on Fri, 8th Jul 2016 8:49 pm 

    Mad max. Road warriors. Bet they got dune buggies with guys wearing swim goggles and chains.

  4. GregT on Sat, 9th Jul 2016 1:13 am 

    Strange how Stratfor is able to find those wee little pits, when the Pentagon was unable to find those miles long tanker convoys for more than a year and a half.

    Hmmm. Something’s not quite adding up here………

  5. Anonymous on Sat, 9th Jul 2016 2:15 am 

    Sample nonsense being peddled by MSM

    With its refineries mostly destroyed and its tanker fleet under constant attack, ISIL is increasingly turning to low-tech alternatives for processing oil, a vital source of revenue for the terrorist group, new satellite images.

    Corrected, and more accurate nonsense.

    With its refineries mostly destroyed and its tanker fleet under constant attack(By Russian Aerospace forces-not amerikans), the USLamic Proxy force is increasingly turning to low-tech alternatives for processing oil, a supplemental source of revenue in addition to its NATO, US, and GCC funding the amero-zionist proxy army receives, new satellite images ‘reveal’.

    Much betta.

  6. Anonymous on Sat, 9th Jul 2016 2:34 am 

    I gotta do more-sorry

    Even More Nonsense says

    Washington PostSatellite images provided to the Washington Post by Stratfor, a U.S. geospatial research firm, show tiny, makeshift refineries popping up in Mosul oil fields controlled by ISIL.

    Corrected BS.

    Washington PostSatellite images provided to the Washington Propaganda Post by Stratfor, a U.S. jew-run firm thats gets 99% of of its ‘intel’ web surfing, supposedly show tiny, makeshift refineries popping up in Mosul oil fields controlled by the USLamic State.

    Yet more nonsense

    Washington PostSatellite images provided to the Washington Post by Stratfor, a U.S. geospatial research firm, show tiny, makeshift refineries popping up in Mosul oil fields controlled by ISIL.
    The tiny refineries are partly offsetting huge losses in income resulting from the disruption of traditional oil production in northern Iraqi fields controlled by ISIL since mid-2014. After capturing the facilities, the group’s leaders initially attempted to run them as businesses, retaining enough workers to keep the refineries operating and hauling the finished products by tanker truck to independent dealers in Turkey, Syria and Iraq’s Kurdish provinces, U.S. officials say.

    Corrected nonsense-again.

    The tiny refineries are partly offsetting huge losses in income resulting from the disruption of traditional oil production(By Russia and the Syrian Armed forces) in northern Iraqi fields controlled by the USLamic proxies. since mid-2014. After capturing the facilities, the US instructed them to truck the stolen oil to independent dealers /cough bullshit, to Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his friends in NATO ally, and loyal USLamic state, enabler, Turkey.

  7. Apneaman on Sat, 9th Jul 2016 3:10 am 

    Inside the Fanciful World of Stratfor

    “Readers of Time were recently treated to an absurd take on Ukraine, Putin, “the West” and a bunch of other stuff by journalist Robert D. Kaplan, “chief geopolitical analyst” of Strategic Forecasting, Inc., popularly known as Stratfor. Stratfor bills itself as a “private global-intelligence firm” that provides “strategic intelligence on global business, economic, security and geopolitical affairs.” Some bamboozled critics and fans call it “the shadow CIA.” Its mocking critics claim “Stratfor is just The Economist a week later and several hundred times more expensive.”

    In addition to having its interns use Google to “gather intelligence,” Stratfor reportedly operates by paying corporate and foreign policy informants via Swiss bank accounts and prepaid credit cards for inside information that it then repackages as “analysis” and peddles to those of its 300,000 subscribers and clients—who include Dow Chemical, Lockheed Martin, Raytheon, the US Marine Corps, the Defense Intelligence Agency, Henry Kissinger, and Dan Quayle—foolish enough to pay for it. It also follows the online antics of activists (including PETA and the Yes Men), “monitors the media” (for, among other things, coverage of Union Carbide’s chemical massacre in Bhopal twenty years on), and provides “information on the financial sector.”

    http://www.counterpunch.org/2014/05/02/inside-the-fanciful-world-of-stratfor/

  8. Alpine Goat on Sat, 9th Jul 2016 5:21 am 

    Stratfor is a Mossad front, ignore.

  9. joe on Sat, 9th Jul 2016 8:19 am 

    These guys will fight to the last rotten soul. I mean they banned praying to God during a muslim holy month because they think that the original muslims didnt do it. The original muslims didnt have antibiotics and lived a totally organic almost vegan lifestyle, yet these heros help to destroy the earth. Thats one thing the certainly have in common with us, hypocrisy.

  10. Rick Bronson on Sat, 9th Jul 2016 5:23 pm 

    Soon all these storage facilities will be bombed by the Airforce of USA, Russia, Iran & Iraq.

    Sorry Saudis, your great creation called IS is burning.

  11. Anonymous on Sat, 9th Jul 2016 5:45 pm 

    Soon, all these facilities will be bombed by the Air Forces of Russia. But only in Syria proper.

    -Iran is not at war in Iraq
    -Iraq has no air force to speak of
    -The USA provides air support FOR ‘ISIS’, not against.

    ‘ISIS’ was not created by the ‘sauds’ even though they provide it logistical support. That credit goes to MI6, Mossad, CIA, etc.

  12. Davy on Sat, 9th Jul 2016 8:51 pm 

    “2 Russian pilots killed as ISIS shoots down chopper near Palmyra – MoD”
    https://www.rt.com/news/350336-isis-russia-helicopter-killed/

    “According to reports, terrorists used the American TOW system to down the helicopter, which, having exhausted its ammunition, was on the course back to the base at an extremely low altitude,” the source is quoted as saying.”

  13. Go Speed Racer on Sat, 9th Jul 2016 9:02 pm 

    Nearby to the micro refineries, is a place called ‘Bartertown’, where they have an inexplicable source of energy.

    The ISIS oil refineries may be feeding into Bartertown.

    On the satellite image, there maybe a set of railroad tracks leading out of Bartertown.

  14. efarmer on Sun, 10th Jul 2016 12:21 pm 

    http://www.wired.com/2013/08/samuel-james/
    is a great insight into DIY oil refining. Mercy sakes it is a nasty process, check out the man who ends the night of work with an early AM spritz of ad hoc diesel to solvent wash all the crude off his body and then a soapy sponge bath as a follow up.

  15. Go Speed Racer on Sun, 10th Jul 2016 2:06 pm 

    The black police chief used a white police robot, to kill the black suspect. They strapped a pound of C4 onto the robot. Just before the lethal detonation, the white police robot said, ‘I want to kill blacks’.

  16. Go Speed Racer on Sun, 10th Jul 2016 2:10 pm 

    The Dallas police force has swept up all the pieces of the robot, and put it into black Hefty bags.

    Then the black police chief found out the robot was built by a small company staffed by white guys,

    So the police chief is shipping all the bags of robot pieces by motor freight, demanding ‘it broke, we want warranty coverage, or else’.

  17. dissident on Sun, 10th Jul 2016 2:17 pm 

    https://pbs.twimg.com/media/CnAiiEzXgAAxNc9.jpg

    Daesh did not bring down the chopper. It took itself out with a botched missile launch. The takfiris are only good at having sex with goats and chopping off human heads.

  18. Apneaman on Sun, 10th Jul 2016 2:50 pm 

    Crude Living on Oil in Syria

    “Locals desperate to survive through the civil war in a frontline village northeast Syria set up homemade oil refineries to make a living on crude oil, exposing themselves and the environment to toxic fumes.”

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w3Z97TksiZk

  19. dissident on Sun, 10th Jul 2016 9:16 pm 

    This village must have a market for its oil. It is not the village itself and not every other part of this oil production zone. Their market is outside of Syria and they ship their oil through Turkey and through Turkish middle men. Yet the USA charged Syrian government officials for trading ISIS oil. I wonder how they managed to do that. Must have been how Saddam Hussein staged 9/11.

  20. Kenz300 on Thu, 14th Jul 2016 7:03 am 

    The sooner the world moves away from oil for transportation vehicles the better………….

    Electric cars, trucks, bicycles and mass transit are the future…..fossil fuel ICE cars are the past…………..

    Think teen agers vs your grand father…………………. cell phones vs land lines…….

    NO EMISSIONS……..climate change is real………

    Save money……no stopping at gas stations…..no oil changes……..less overall maintenance……

    Electric bus maker Proterra follows Tesla’s lead and open-sources its Fast-Charging patents | Electrek

    http://electrek.co/2016/06/28/electric-bus-maker-proterra-tesla-lead-open-sources-fast-charging-patents/

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